When you hear retirement plan you might think that everyone has the same vision of lazy days, with not a care in the world and sipping cocktails on the beach. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many in the LGBT community have different goals when it comes to their dream retirement. These goals may only differ slightly but they differ all the same. How the LGBT community prepares for retirement also differs, according to a new report. The Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement recently partnered with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies to survey the retirement goals of the LGBT community.
Compared to their heterosexual colleagues, LGBT employees are more likely to have taken the steps of drafting a written financial plan and planning for retirement. While this good news indicates the retirement readiness of many in the LGBT community, the study also reports that many gays and lesbians are less likely to save for retirement on a consistent basis. While there are many who take the step to plan, there are others who are less likely to save anything at all.
One reason for the lack of saving is a lack of children. Even with marriage equality, gay men were reportedly more likely to be single. As a group, members of the LGBT community were less likely to have dependent children. No big shock there. If you are single and without kids you may never have had the need to really get serious about money.
Additionally, members of the LGBT community are less likely to spend time with their families during retirement . Living alone, without as many family ties, can affect many of the retirement choices one makes. Not having the responsibility to care for a child provides more flexibility for travel around the world or even a move to some exotic location. While this may sound great, it can also lead to increased isolation as we age.
Lack of children can often translate into lack of support in retirement. This will often change the hard numbers of your retirement income needs, not to mention where you hope to leave money. Who will be around to help care for you as you age? Be sure to read “Who Will Care for LGBT Boomers,” where this topic is covered more in depth. Everyone faces these issues as they age, but they are especially poignant for those retiring without children. Since the majority of the LGBT community aren’t parents, they will have to look elsewhere for care and most of the time set aside money to pay for that care.
Setting aside money and saving for retirement is challenging for the LGBT community. A reported 31% of LGBT singles said they had made sure to put money towards retirement. The number jumped to 47% for those who were married or had a civil partner. Translating that into real life, it means something like 50% or more of the community has little to nothing saved for retirement.
Heterosexuals have challenges as well but appear to be doing much better. Forty-six percent of heterosexuals in long-term relationships ensured that they had saved money for retirement while just 41% of heterosexual singles did.
The numbers indicate that members of the LGBT community and heterosexuals show similar levels of readiness for retirement. But don’t plan a party just yet. Many people are still behind when it comes to saving for retirement. Eighty-four percent of LGBT workers felt they had taken responsible steps towards having sufficient income during retirement. Compare that to 92% of heterosexual workers. I believe this survey may be a bit skewed. A reported 50% of workers have nothing saved which will equal virtually no income in retirement. Living off Social Security will be difficult because the average benefit is below $1,400 per month for the year 2018. Would that even cover your rent?
Sixty-one percent of LGBT workers, compared to 57% of heterosexual workers, make a habit of saving, according to this report. This is much higher than expected and reported in other surveys of the U.S. population as a whole. Almost half of the respondents said they were on course to achieve three-quarters or more of what’s needed for their LGBT retirement. While that may sound good to some, will you be able to live off 75% of your current income during your retirement years? I know I won’t. Nor would I want to. I expect to spend more in retirement because I’ll have the freedom to spend money 24/7.
Sadly, many have to leave the work force before choosing to do so. This could put a big dent in the percentage of people who are actually on track to replace ¾ of their incomes in retirement. Retiring earlier than planned means you had less time to save. It also means invested money had less time to compound its growth. In addition, taking Social Security before full retirement age can dramatically reduce your benefits.
The online survey was conducted by Cicero Group and included 900 working or retired participants from nine countries, including the U.S., who identified as either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
To view the full report, click here.